In order to obtain the compensation you deserve for a slip and fall accident, you must identify the party responsible for compensating you. In addition, you want to pursue a claim against all potentially liable parties to increase the likelihood that you will receive all that you are entitled to. If you hurt yourself by slipping or tripping and falling on a sidewalk, determining the correct parties is crucial to your claim. Unfortunately, this can be more complicated than you think.
Potential Parties Who Could Be Liable for Your Injuries
The negligent party in your case will depend on the cause of your fall, who owns the property, whether it is also leased, and who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. Often homeowners and commercial property owners are required to maintain and repair the sidewalk abutting their property. In other cases, a municipality could be responsible for this. Look to these possible parties depending on how your fall occurred and where it happened:
- Homeowner. If you slipped and fell on a sidewalk abutting a homeowner’s home, he could be liable for compensating you if he had a duty to maintain and repair the sidewalk or if he negligently left debris, bikes, or other objects on the sidewalk that caused your fall.
- Commercial business owner. Business owners can be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in front of their properties under municipal laws. If they fail to do so or leave deliveries, boxes, or debris strewn on the sidewalk, they could be considered negligent—and responsible for compensating you.
- Lessee of commercial business. Sometimes the owner of a commercial property leases it to another business. Under the lease and possibly municipal laws, the lessee could be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. In this case, your claim would be against the lessee. If you could also show that the owner of the property was negligent, you would want to pursue a claim against the owner as well.
- Rental property. Who is liable for compensating you for a fall on a rental property sidewalk will depend on who is responsible for maintaining it—the landlord or tenant. In apartment complexes, the landlord must maintain the sidewalks and parking lots, as well as other common areas.
- Municipality. A city or town could face liability if it was responsible for maintaining public sidewalks. In addition, you could have a claim against them if defective design or materials was a cause of your fall. However, municipalities are governed by special rules governing when they can be sued and have shorter time periods for filing a claim that could make holding them responsible more challenging.
Were you or a loved one hurt in a fall on a sidewalk? You need to act quickly to not miss the deadline to file your lawsuit. Call our experienced slip and fall attorneys at 866-299-0558 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your legal options and who you can hold responsible for compensating you.